Monday, June 25, 2018

We Watched The '91 VMAs

We were less familiar with the 1991 VMAs than any other year from the '90s, so it seemed like a good one to revisit for this series. With many nominatations from 1990 throughout the event and "it's the '90s" still among that year's popular catchphrases, we were reminded that it was the first VMAs comprised entirely of '90s music and pop culture.

#1 The Death Count

It gets tougher to determine every dead person who appears as you go further into the past, but it's crazy to think all these people were once in the same building together at the same time...

- Prince closed the show with his controversial "Gett Off" performance.
- George Michael (with Cindy Crawford) presented Video Of The Year to R.E.M.
- James Brown (with MC Hammer) presented the Viewers' Choice Award to Queensryche.
- Dennis Hopper presented Best Direction to R.E.M.
- Easy-E, alongside the rest of N.W.A. (minus Ice Cube), announced the winner as N.W.A. but a moment later presented Best Rap Video to LL Cool J.
- Bruce Nazarian performed in Was Not Was (an unusual choice for that evening's "house band").
- Layne Staley or anyone else in Alice In Chains were almost definitely not present, but "Man In The Box" was nominated for a pre-grunge era Best Metal Video.
- Bob Stinson or anyone else in The Replacements were more than likely not present, but their video for "When It Began" received two nominations (Best Special Effects & Best Alternative).

#2 Highlights

We're relatively obsessed with 1991-era pop culture and music, so this might be a biased claim. But we're happy to say the show was packed with generous highlights! This was an extremely fun awards show! Why can't they all be this good??

- Pee-wee's 90-second opening monologue might be one of the defining moments of MTV history. During the rehearsals, a different celebrity was originally planned to emerge from behind the curtain. (We forgot who, but does it really matter?) According to the lore, only 2 or 3 people who worked at MTV knew that Pee-wee was about to make his first public appearance since getting arrested for indecent exposure at an adult theater 41 days earlier. The crowd completely lost their shit and chanted "Pee-wee! Pee-wee!" BOOM. This amazing kick off unfairly raised the bar for future surprise VMA moments.

- We can't recall the last time we saw four outstanding TV performances all in one awards show. Almost every band or singer had an extravagant, lavish stage set-up, frequently with 20 or 30 additional musicians or dancers.

Van Hagar blasted through "Poundcake," which just happens to be their greatest song. Alex's enormous gong sat behind him unused for no apparent reason. Eddie kept a drill on the drum riser that he would pick up and use to zap his guitar multiple times while soloing.

Mariah Carey had a 6-year-old dancer join her ensemble 2/3's of the way through "Emotions." Whatever happened to little kid dancers at the VMAs?

Metallica was the one band who did NOT have an extravagant stage plot. The Black Album was still charting at #1, and its singles had not yet been beaten to an oblivion. "Enter Sandman" hasn't sounded this fresh in a very long time.

Save the ass for last. Prince unsurprisingly stole the show, showing the world his uncovered, unblurred, naked ass several times. His ass would be blurred during subsequent edited rebroadcasts and influenced our decision to tape future live editions of the VMAs in their initial least-cut embodiment.

- Aside from Pee-wee, the evening's most noteworthy celebrity might be C.C. Deville from Poison debuting a giant hot pink dye job which may or may not have indicated an intense coke binge occupying his headspace. A 2013 Rolling Stone listicle incorrectly states that C.C. was too mindless to remember Poison's plan to play "Unskinny Bop" during the telecast; however, Bret Michaels is clearly heard asking the crowd if they want to hear "Talk Dirty To Me." The crowd reaction during the song's first half was among the night's most enthusiastic, including a loud chant of "Talk dirty to me!" as Bret points the mic to the audience during the first chorus.

The embarrassing moments suddenly sneak up on them in the song's second half when C.C.'s instrument cable falls out of his guitar. His tone sounded horrible enough to mask a series of wrong notes, and he botched his somewhat rudimentary solo. ("C.C. pick up that guitar and talk to me!" *clunk*) As the other three band members scramble to say in control, the world visibly observed the reign of '80s pop-metal starting to crumble before their eyes. It's the night's most fascinating moment.

About 90 minutes later, Bon Jovi are accepting the Video Vanguard Award, and Jon Bon Jovi begins his acceptance speech with "Hey C.C.! Nice hair!" A moment later, C.C. is shown in front of the podium, back on TV again (probably even more coked up than during "Talk Dirty To Me") assisting "Downtown Julie" Brown with plugging the 1-900 number where viewers could vote for the Viewers' Choice Award. It's hard to say whether this was before or after C.C. was fired from Poison or engaged in an infamous backstage fistfight with Bret Michaels. It's equally unclear whether he was asked to join "Downtown Julie" Brown or if he just unexpectedly stumbled nearby where cameras just happened to be pointing, although he is very clearly pulling Julie close to him by the waist throughout the entire segment. (Poor "Downtown Julie" was also subjected to an upskirt shot during an earlier 1-900 segment. It seemed like she was a good sport about the whole thing, gracefully sneaking in subtle comments on the greediness of TV contests.)

#3 Other Notes

- The night's abundant David Lynch references included Chris Isaak joined by Kyle MacLachlan during his pre-taped "Wicked Game" acceptance speeches (on the set of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me). Sherilyn Fenn (a.k.a. Audrey) stars in one of the "Books: Feed Your Head" PSAs that may or may not have premiered on this night, while Dennis Hopper briefly reprised his role from Blue Velvet at the podium. (He points at an audience member and says "Don't you ____ look at me!")

- MC Hammer starred in two of the night's best commercials: The extremely classic Pepsi ad (where he sings "Feelings") was shown at least twice. In a Taco Bell ad, Hammer's parachute pants save him after alluding fans by jumping off the side of a skyscraper.

- Paula Abdul sings her contribution to the "shittiest songs of all time" canon, the obvious "Vogue" rip-off "Vibeology." It's quite possibly the worst VMAs performance of the '90s and certainly the worst of the evening.

- Steven Tyler walks up to the podium to present an award WITH A GUN. (To be fair, he was presenting alongside Linda Hamilton and was purposely in Terminator 2 cosplay mode.)

- Props to Was (Not Was) for their lounge version of "Big Bottom" as Spinal Tap took the podium.

- None of Arsenio's jokes are objectively funny. For example, he makes an obvious and kinda boring Rick James joke within the first 5 minutes. But he seems extremely comfortable throughout the entirety of the show and handles every quirk and unplanned moment with a very chill demeanor. At one point, the show returns from commercial, and he's standing next to one of LL Cool J's backup dancers asking her about life and how things have been going. He probably sits down more than most other awards show hosts. He wasn't the funniest or most outrageous, but we're tempted to say that he was ultimately the best "master of ceremonies" the VMAs ever had. And we're tempted to speculate that Arsenio ruled the VMAs during their best era, although we have not yet reviewed the '88, '89 or '90 shows that he also hosted.

Arsenio also twice used the term "ignorant" as an odd synonym for "ridiculously dope." We don't recall this usage reaching the suburbs beyond the VMAs.

At one point, Arsenio introduces Billy Idol as "a renowned nonconformist."

- We don't recall "Losing My Religion" winning as much as it did. Alt-rock heartthrob Michael Stipe did the thing where he wore 12 t-shirts with different social and political messages on each one.

- A "Wayne's World" bit (6 months before its movie premiere) was met with lukewarm applause. Wayne and Garth announced the winners of the technical awards, which included Faith No More's "Falling To Pieces." (A year later, Dana Carvey hosted the '92 VMAs.)

- Jane's Addiction surprisingly took home an award for "Been Caught Stealing." Dave Navarro was unrecognizable and was accompanied only by the video director who immediately announced that she was wasted and had just arrived.

- A good night for Queensryche: "Silent Lucidity" was performed with a 30 piece orchestra, and The 'Ryche surprisingly took home the Viewers' Choice Award.

- On December 31st, "You Could Be Mine" was named MTV's #1 on their top 100 videos of 1991, but it failed to win any awards despite multiple nominations. (Guns 'N' Roses premiered the "Live And Let Die" cover during their "via satellite" performance. Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 were released two weeks later.) "Groove Is In The Heart" was also nominated 5 or 6 times (including Video Of The Year) but failed to win anything. And for some reason, Gerardo's embarrassing "Rico Suave" video was nominated at least 3 times.

- In the international awards, we couldn't help noticing Sepultura winning Video Of The Year in Brazil.

- Pauly Shore's dreadful segment with Cindy Crawford creeped us out pretty badly.

- We were almost ready to get mildly excited for pre-grunge-beard Don Henley performing "Heart Of The Matter" (one of our '80s guilty pleasure tracks) but sadly he opted for a boring acoustic version.

- EMF should have changed the song title to "Unremarkable." (lmao.) We closely associate this band with Jesus Jones, another surprise winner for the night.

- Ads for some forthcoming unremembered MTV News series include shows called MTV Generation, Fade To Black and a show called Soapbox starring real kids complaining about MTV's redundancy.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


Well would you look at that. Another year another dollar.

2017: A year full of hope, jobs AND cash for all. And what's more, we finally made it to the big one-eight unscathed.

No one has died yet in 2018. Great job everyone! Give yourself a pat on the back!

When we look back on our stack of essential 2017 records, a few thoughts come to mind.

Thought #1: Wow! Those are some sharp record albums!

Thought #2: Nothing tops these. They are the best overall. Take a listen to all of these in full today:

60. Andy Kindler State of the Industry Address: Just for Laughs 1996

You know, he brings up a good point; Caroline In The City is giant turd of a show.

59. The Toadies The Lower Side of Uptown

The long awaited return of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Toadies. The stars at night are big and bright. (Our exclusive interview with Toadies: "Who's Tyler?" "The question should be 'Where's Tyler?' because it's a town." "Oh weird. I figured it was the guy's name." "Okay, well it's not.") Behind the boathouse, they'll show you dark secrets. The secret is a 281 calorie taco with jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream & cilantro with diablo Sauce on a flour tortilla but try to remember to ask for the corn tortilla instead because it really does taste that much better.

58. Priests Nothing Feels Natural

Priests is that trip.

57. Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen What Goes Up

Tony, where you at?

56. Pissed Jeans Why Love Now

Matt Korvette has still never heard Dopesmoker.
He never lets his kids eat sugar except for at the sweet dessert party.
Matt Korvette is the former announcer of a local underground Philly wrestling company.
At least two members of Pissed Jeans are former wrestlers.

55. Various Artists Follow The Sun

I think the '60s were really neat times.

54. Headroom Head in the Clouds

We didn't even know this was a CT band until after this album was in the list. Crushing droney weirdo noise.

53. Reese McHenry w/ Spider Bags Bad Girl

"Nothin's gonna stop us now." - Diane Warren, 1987 (Mannequin Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

52. Wolves In The Throne Room Thrice Woven


51. XETAS The Tower

Don't mess with a frosty Lone Star. Your ass will get thrown out the window so fast.

50. DiCaprio I Went to the Mall Yesterday and I Got Sick

All original thoughts.

49. Snoop Dogg Make America Crip Again

Snoop Dogg: The new "Weird Al." Snoop Dogg is responsible for both the "cheeburger cheeburger" skit and the samurai chef skit. A comedy legend, some might say.

48. Midnight Sweet Death and Ecstacy

'Cause we are the ones that wanna play / Always wanna go but you never wanna stay / And we are the ones that wanna choose / Always wanna play but you never wanna lose

47. Miguel War & Leisure

Little known fact about Miguel: The dude really enjoys boning.

46. Two Inch Astronaut Can You Please Not Help

Give em a ninch, they'll take a yard. Give em two inches, they'll hit #1 with some crossover adult contempo crooners. This album has the most cello out of all of their albums so far.

45. Migos Culture

The rolling tongue thing was ok for like a day. Tbh it was cool when Lil Pump did it, even though it wasn't original at all when he did it. If Nicki Minaj thought it was so cool to roll her tongue in her raps then why didn't she do it like 7 years ago? You can't just pick up on a trend and then be like "ok I own this now." That's not how it works.

44. Poppy Poppy.Computer

"Hi, I'm Poppy! I have a birdcage on my head! I hope you like my album of songs! Microphones are interesting!" - Poppy, a controversial artist from 2018

43. Quicksand Interiors

We wish we had other shirts like Quicksand. It would rule to have another shirt.

42. Syd Fin

Syd isn't done. It's a joke title. Did lol.

41. Big Heet On A Wire

The internet manifests into a rabid robot rabbit who will kill you in your sleep tonight. Then it will go outside and slash your tires. And then for the grand finale it will give everyone in the world $99 cash (tax free) to use for whatever they like. The internet can't be bad since it gave me and my beautiful wife $99.

40. Tyler, The Creator Scum Fuck Flower Boy

Some of Tyler The Creator's favorite things: Smokin', Snortin', Suckin', Tokin', Poppin', Droppin'

39. Weaves Wide Open

One of those blockbuster albums like Hysteria or Faith that had 7 or 8 hit singles.

38. Big Walnuts Yonder Big Walnuts Yonder

Nels, what's the drams?

37. Helium Ends With And

After hydrogen, helium is the second lightest and second most abundant element in the observable universe, being present at about 24% of the total elemental mass, which is more than 12 times the mass of all the heavier elements combined. Its abundance is similar to this figure in the Sun and in Jupiter. This is due to the very high nuclear binding energy (per nucleon) of helium-4 with respect to the next three elements after helium. This helium-4 binding energy also accounts for why it is a product of both nuclear fusion and radioactive decay. Most helium in the universe is helium-4, the vast majority of which was formed during the Big Bang. Large amounts of new helium are being created by nuclear fusion of hydrogen in stars.

36. Mount Eerie A Crow Looked at Me

A crow left of the burr. (That frosty cold burr.)

35. Melkbelly Nothing Valley

We possibly took someone in Melkbelly's hoodie by accident. Whoops.

34. Aimee Mann Mental Illness

Hush hush. Keep it down now. Voices carry.

33. Grandaddy Last Place

Instead of participation trophys, they should make individual placement trophys for everyone including whoever gets last place, so that way everyone gets to feel special because they placed.

32. Tony Allen The Source


31. Palehound A Place I’ll Always Go

Since 1894, there have been observed irregularities in the orbits of Sirius A and B with an apparent periodicity of 6–6.4 years. A 1995 study found such a companion to likely exist, with a mass of roughly 0.05 solar masses- a small red dwarf or large brown dwarf, with an apparent magnitude of >15, and less than 3 arcseconds from Sirius A.

30. Palberta Bye Bye Berta

Bye Felicia.

29. Pile A Hairshirt of Purpose

The best Pile since Dripping imo.

28. Freddie Gibbs You Only Live 2wice

Imma do what I want / Smoke weed on a plane if I want / Take a bump on the plane if I want / I get high off my own supply / I'm sellin' drugs 'til the day I die / I run the streets, I run the sky

27. Sheer Mag Need To Feel Your Love

"Too much shred for one album" said no one ever.

26. Power Trip Nightmare Logic

Fun Fact: A very famous trio can be spotted at every Power Trip show. Here is a candid photo of that very exclusive clique.

25. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya DROOL

Some people with drooling problems are at increased risk of inhaling saliva, food, or fluids into the lungs, especially if drooling is secondary to a neurological problem. However, if the body's normal reflex mechanisms (such as gagging and coughing) are not impaired, this is not life-threatening.

24. Lil Pump Lil Pump

Scott Rogowsky fucks with Lil Pump. Streets are watching.


The definitive version. DUH.

22. Hüsker Dü Savage Young Dü

Savage Young BOOM.

21. Lil Yachty Teenage Emotions

A good album:
1. "Dirty Mouth"
2. "Harley"
3. "All Around Me"
4. "Better"
5. "Lady In Yellow"
6. "Moments In Time"
7. "Otha Shit"
8. "Bring It Back"
9. "FYI (Know Now)"
10. "Priorities"
11. "No More"
Just pretend that's the whole album.

20. Cloakroom Time Well

I give.

19. Maneka Is You Is

Julie Winters did not like the Iz's. The Iz's natural defense against everything is the extra teeth that it will use for looking insane. Each tooth is actually 5 teeth.

18. Aye Nako Silver Haze

Silver heeeyyyyy.

17. N.E.R.D. No_one Ever Really Dies

No you.

16. Jason Loewenstein Spooky Action

Punching ourselves in the face repeatedly publicly.

15. Leikeli47 Wash & Set

We all wear masks metaphorically speaking.

14. Alex G Rocket

Hey Alex, what's up?

13. Code Orange Forever

Electic word, forever, and that's a mighty long time. But we're here to tell you there's something else: The afterworld. You can always see the orange sun day or night.

12. Electric Wizard Wizard Bloody Wizard

Winner of the coveted "Best Album With Worst Album Art" Award.

11. Charli XCX Pop 2

Just in time for America 2 and Earth 2.

10. Gnarwhal Crucial

Eggplant xerxes crybaby overbite Gnarwhal.

09. David Nance Negative Boogie

David Nance has entered the building. ARC is that building. Several days or weeks later, he will leave with a tracked and mixed album. Negative Boogie is that album.

08. Nelly Furtado The Ride

Drop down and get your eagle on.

07. Elder Reflections Of A Floating World

Bloodshot and lucid.

06. Homeshake Fresh Air

It's a new day. Have another hit.

05. Maren Morris Hero (Deluxe Edition)

Drunk girls don't cry. You must be out of your damn mind. "Deluxe edition" means this counts as a 2017 album. (Had we been hip to this in 2016, Hero would have been a solid lock for #2. If you'd like, just push everything else down by 1.)

04. Charly Bliss Guppy

Coming soon: Charly Bliss featuring Charli XCX and Charlie Murphy and a mouth-harp solo from Mr. Charlie McCoy "Too Many Charlies." We smell a BNM in the oven.

03. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile Lotta Sea Lice

Francis Bean's real parents together at last.

02. Lil B Black Ken

The murse is lifted. BasedGod has spoken.

01. The Rubs Impossible Dream

Non-album tracks include "Aubrey," "Assy," "Grizzly," "Jimminy," "Biology," "Knuckly," "Stickly" and "Daddy."